Friday, July 22, 2016

1672 Jolly Roger Ailes: Fox’s Fox in the Henhouse

Roger Ailes used to be a name.  Now it’s a complete sentence.  The Jolly Roger no longer flies above the the Fox News flagship.  And the Fox fox is out of the hen house.


Say what you will about throwback press baron Rupert Murdoch, the guy bleeds ink and saves newspapers.  And he does it with what passes for grace and charm within the limits of his Aussie beginnings.


You may think he’s an unrehabilitated tool or leader of a nasty worldwide swing to the right. And sure, he embraces and promotes conservatism on every continent.  But Murdoch is about money and influence more than he is about politics and sensationalism.


He’s also fiercely loyal to the people he hires to work that Murdoch magic.  Until the magic stops working.


So when he hired failed NBC executive and onetime Republican operative Roger Ailes, he knew what he was getting.  And Ailes’ Fox News succeeded beyond even the wildest of dreams.

Wait.  “Failed” NBC-ling?  Yes.  As head of what was then called “America’s Talking” cable which no one watched.


So here’s Jolly Roger cast adrift.  And Murdoch wants a TV network and who better to start one than Ailes?  He had all the right assets.  He knew TV and did it well, he was well connected with his previous Republican politician employers.  And he had a good idea: build a right wing monolith.  Or build a better mousetrap and bait it with hot babes and snarling old white male scolds.


The problems may have begun when Ailes started responding to the babes in his bait bucket and they didn’t respond back. Well they did respond if you include filing lawsuits.  Most were settled without publicity and on no disclosure agreements.


Fox TV is kind of like early MTV. Softcore porn, fancy, glitzy sets and graphics, controversy and you can mute the sound and still enjoy it.


So through all kinds of controversy, Murdoch sticks by his man.  Until it starts to look like the mousetrap might soon stop luring in all that money.


And now, with charges of sexual harassment swirling and the disclosure that similar suits had been settled out of court, with Murdoch’s presumed heirs calling for Ailes to walk the plank, Rupert has no choice but to cut his losses.


The Jolly Pirate, the fox in the Fox henhouse, the guy who built a money machine and vacuumed up almost every conservative talking head and right wing thinker in America can go upstate, lick his wounds and count his severance check, said to be $40 million all told.


Today’s Quote: “Bury your mistakes.” -- Rupert Murdoch, newly named interim CEO of Fox News Channel and Fox Business News TV.


Grapeshot:


-Rupert is 85 years old and will mind the store only until the dust settles but you can bet the cubiclistas in the newsroom will be sitting up straight again when he’s in the building and watching.


-The NYC tabloids especially Fox’s co-owned New York Post downplayed the story and the Fox News website wimped out and posted nothing more than the company press release so far down on the page it looked like they tried to hide it.


-Today’s Wessay™ was made possible by a grant from the Mixed Metaphor Foundation, a can of worms in a grammatical minefield and a Pandora’s Box of empty barrels.


-About Trump’s convention speech:  Like Nixon, only less charming.


I’m Wes Richards. My opinions are my own but you’re welcome to them. ®
Please address comments to wesrichards@gmail.com
© WJR 2016

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